(Reuters) – The organisers of the U.S. Open said on Friday they could have better communicated with wheelchair athletes before announcing they would not be part of this year’s scaled-down event in New York and are now rethinking their decision.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) held a call on Friday with wheelchair tennis leadership during which they stated they should have worked in a “collaborative manner” with wheelchair athletes when developing the plan for the U.S. Open.
“The USTA also committed to working with the players and the ITF (International Tennis Federation) to explore a number of potential scenarios for the wheelchair competition,” the governing body for the sport in the U.S. said in a statement.
“The USTA expects to gather player feedback on their perspective and work with the ITF to finalize an approach to the 2020 U.S. Open Wheelchair Competition.”
Australian Paralympic tennis champion Dylan Alcott led a chorus of backlash after plans revealed on Wednesday for this year’s U.S. Open did not include a wheelchair competition, one of several changes to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
The other changes announced for the Aug. 31-Sept. 13 U.S. Open are no singles qualifying for able-bodied players, the elimination of mixed doubles and junior competitions and smaller fields for men’s and women’s doubles.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)